Playa del Carmen sits in the heart of the action, perfectly situated along beautiful Caribbean coastline of the Mayan Riviera. If you are looking to cut loose, put all your inhibitions away and have some fun, look no farther than Playa del Carmen! This once tranquil fishing village has grown into a bustling city full of all kinds of entertainment and activity, drawing international visitors to come enjoy its many wonders.
PDC has grown so much over the past few years that it isn’t uncommon to hear people comment on how different the city is from when they last visited. One of the largest areas of growth and change in Playa is in the way of evening entertainment and nightlife, along with many live performances and special concerts or music festivals scheduled throughout the year.
Regardless of whether you choose to visit during Spring Break, New Year’s, or any other time of the year, there’s always plenty of partying to be had throughout this electric, fast-paced coastal city.
5TH AVE / LA QUINTA
Throughout this article, 5th Ave is mentioned frequently! Why? The vast majority of Playa’s nightlife scene is located on or very near 5th Avenue (aka La Quinta in Spanish).
What is 5th Avenue? – Vibrant, trendy and always entertaining, 5th Ave is the main thoroughfare for shopping, eating, entertainment, accommodations, people-watching, and nightlife in Playa del Carmen. 5th Ave lies just one block off the beach and stretches roughly 25 blocks, creating the heartbeat of this amazing Mexican city.
Much of what lines 5th Avenue is a variety of restaurants and bars that will stay open until the wee hours. As you stroll down 5th block by block, different sounds from various musicians and bands will reach your ears. All you have to do is determine what venue and sound suits you best!
TIP: Explore a bit! You’ll find more nightlife off 5th as well. Running parallel with 5th is First Ave, which is closest to the shoreline. A block over in the other direction is 10th Ave. Although these avenues are not strictly for pedestrians only, they are definitely fun to check out. But it all starts at La Quinta!
What’s Your Pleasure? – You may be wondering what your evening entertainment options are. The easiest answer: practically anything you want! There are scores of options, ranging from sports bars, Irish pubs, and tequila joints all the way to elaborate nightclubs where dancing in the street is even a possibility. (Or, if you prefer to dance on the beach or maybe right in the water, have no fear PDC is here!)
MEXICAN STYLE RESTO-BARS
A great way to start off your evening…. These bars close around midnight!
On 5th Ave between Calle 8 and Calle 10
Known for excellent live music
This is a fantastic little bar that is all open-air where you can enjoy a drink under the canopy of a couple of giant almond trees. The ambiance is great. Grab a bite and enjoy a cocktail or two or three. Generally they will fire up the live music around 7pm, with several acts carrying on into the night. The food is good here as well to complement the beverages. Sitting right off 5th, the people-watching is always great.
On the corner of 5th Ave and Calle 2
Great for tequila shots with the gang while you watch the game
Drop on by Pez Vela, another great option to start off your evening where you can literally swing through the night. They serve up some great Pina Coladas and its always more fun to swing than just sit on a bar stool as you converse with patrons and make new friends from all over creation at their swing bar. Good service and very friendly staff that will happily advise you on your drinking way.
DIABLITO CHA CHA CHA
On Calle 12 between 5th Ave and 1rst Ave
An eclectic, hip spot nestled in with all the nightclubs
Here is yet another option to enjoy, and puts you even closer to the mega bars and clubs that will suck you in for the remainder of the morning hours! At Diablito you can drink and dine while you mingle with locals and tourists. Setting a fun, retro mood, the DJ blends up a mix of old-school funk and house music. The food is good but the drinks are better and they offer several drinking options depending on your budget and the size of your group.
Still a great way to start and/or complete your night… just a bit more sandy!
Here are a few options on the lighter side:
Calle 10 and the beach (near the lighthouse)
Great reggae and cover bands at the water’s edge
You’re in the Caribbean so why not enjoy the water? Zenzi is a great place to party all day at their beach club and then all night at the bar. Enjoy the gourmet food and drinks and lounge in the sand while listening to the DJ; then the music goes live at five! The live music will start playing and the drinks keep flowing. There’s a small dance floor so you can showcase your moves.
At the Cozumel Ferry Dock on the beach (near the main square)
Family fun all day and live DJ and concerts at night
Located right on the water, you can hang out here on the beach all day, enjoy the restaurant in the evening, and stay at the bar and listen to the DJ all night. Señor Frog’s has grown in popularity among cruise shippers since it’s right beside the dock. It also has a prime stretch of beach with volleyball net, jet-skis, sun loungers and a trampoline. This spot boasts a really friendly staff that will help you get your party started right.
Here are a few options for an all-night beach party:
COCO MAYA BEACH CLUB/NIGHTCLUB
On Calle 12 and the beach
This is a true 24-hour beach club. With that being said, it really comes to life after the sun goes down. This club starts coming alive around 10pm and doesn’t stop until the sun comes up the next morning. With special guest DJs and resident DJs, they keep things hopping with electric mixes all night long.
For all you hockey and football fans out there who just have to see the game..
LEGENDS SPORTS BAR
On Calle 16 between 10th Ave and 15th Ave (near La Quinta Alegría mall)
Catch the game on a big screen in air-conditioned comfort
This is probably the top sports bar in town, for good reason! It has outdoor patio seating surrounded by big screen TV’s or you can go inside and grab a table or sit at the bar and watch one of the dozens of screens. Here at Legends there are several beers on tap and the food is quite good. It’s a large enough place that on a normal night there is plenty of seating. If there’s a big game (especially soccer), seats will be at a premium.
On 5th Avenue between Calle 10 and Calle 12
Always rowdy, with quality drinks in a party atmosphere
This is a very touristy and popular spot, but probably not the best to enjoy a game if that’s your intention, as it’s located right on 5th. If you want to drink, dance on the bar and waste lots of money on frivolous things like sports betting Tequila Barrel is going to be your favorite place! They have Happy Hour from 11am to 5pm and the kitchen is open all day (from 9 in the morning and not closing down until 1 am).
TIP: If you’re drinking a lot, always check your bill, especially here. Extra items may “mysteriously” appear!
On 5th Ave between Calle 12 and Calle 14
A good sports bar in a great location
Your basic sports bar is EZ. It’s nothing particularly special, just tables and beers or other cocktails and food surrounded by sports! It’s open-air, under a thatched palapa roof, for that beachy vibe that Playa does so well.
ALL-NIGHT PARTY BARS & NIGHTCLUBS
The real partyers will be interested in these…
Corner of Calle 12 and 1st Ave
Celebrate in style
This is a quality nightclub that is kept clean and has a very elegant and plush style. There are no walls in this club, only large flowing drapery all around for a luxurious feel. It’s perfect after a hot day; the sea breezes blow through to cool you down as you dance. The main nightclubs In PDC are located right here in this area, so you’re in the heart of the all-night party scene!
On Calle 12 and 1st Ave
Famous for their liter drinks
Great music! Liter-sized drinks! And a dancing cow! Dance all night on the dance floor (or on your table or just about anywhere else for that matter), to 90s pop music do your own version of a drunk sing-along and just have fun in Mexico. Mario is the man to talk to here–he will set you up and make sure your evening is enjoyable.
Calle 12 and 1st Ave
Mason jar drinks and a wide variety of music
Usually the first stop on the Playa Club Crawl is Abolengo. It’s typically a bit less rowdy than La Vaquita and Mandala. There is no dance floor here per se, but really, who needs one? Located right in the same area as the rest of these clubs, you can do a little window shopping before you decide where you want to land for the night.
Last but not least…..
On the corner of Calle 12 and 10th Ave
Playa’s premium nightlife and world-class entertainment spot
If you want entertainment mixed with an interactive party experience, then you’ve absolutely got to make it here! This is a must, just for the experience alone. Coco Bongo offers an open bar included in the entrance fee (around $60 USD). You’ll get a jam-packed party all night with a Vegas-quality type musical show. There are stunning visual effects, along with confetti, streamers, fog and smoke, as you dance the night away.
Playa’s nightlife is constantly changing and evolving. Old clubs are upgrading to compete with the new hip clubs. PDC has definitely become a party town and is waiting for you to come test the waters for yourself!
TIP: Schedule your vacation to line up with some of these events… Playa is home to places like Mamita’s Beach Club, which host huge events like the BPM Music Festival, DJ fest, International Jazz Festival, and the list goes on! There’s always something going on!